Ocasio-Cortez returning to restaurant work in support of tipped workers, raising minimum wage

Ocasio-Cortez returning to restaurant work in support of tipped workers, raising minimum wage
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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezAyanna Pressley's 'squad' of congresswomen offers support after she opens up about alopecia Here are the 10 senators who voted against Trump's North American trade deal Artist paints Michelle Obama, other women as battered in campaign against domestic violence MORE (D-N.Y.) plans to tend bar in her district at a Friday event to support tipped workers in the Empire State, the New York Daily News reported Tuesday.

Ocasio-Cortez, who worked as a bartender in New York before mounting her insurgent Democratic congressional bid last year, plans to pour some pints and take orders at a restaurant in her district, the Daily News reported.

Forty-three states, including New York, allow employers to pay certain workers — including waiters, bartenders and car wash employees — below the federal minimum wage if they earn the full minimum wage counting tips. The regulations also apply to workers at nail salons, of which Ocasio-Cortez’s district has one of the highest concentrations in the country, the Daily News noted.


Unions and advocacy groups such as the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC United), the organizer of the event Ocasio-Cortez is expected to attend Friday, are lobbying New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) to institute a full minimum wage for tipped workers, arguing such a step is necessary to combat wage theft, improve economic disparity and make workers less vulnerable to sexual harassment.

"We’re very grateful for our partnership with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who fully understands the struggles of these workers," ROC United co-founder and president Saru Jayaraman told the Daily News. "As a former tipped worker, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez can shed light on the importance of One Fair Wage to lift up these workers and their families."

New York’s minimum wage for tipped workers is $10 and $15 for everyone else, considerably more than the federal tipped wage, which is $2.13 an hour. The federal Raise the Wage Act, which Ocasio-Cortez has endorsed, would double the $7.25 federal minimum wage in the next five years.

Last year, Cuomo asked the state Labor Department to analyze the ramifications of increasing the tipped wage, according to the Daily News.

"Restaurant workers in New York and across the country have been mobilizing over the last two years to demand that One Fair Wage will be passed in New York and the Raise the Wage Act in Congress," Jayaraman said. "It’s time for Gov. Andrew Cuomo to listen to the voice of the majority of restaurant, nail salon and car wash workers."